Time travel back just a few short years and watch the term ‘beauty vlogging’ be met with total confusion. Today, of course, it’s big business. From nailing fake lashes to perfecting intricate braids with ease, it’s all there on YouTube, delivered by talented vloggers in the beauty know. But if we work backwards, we can pinpoint the start of it all right down to sisters Sam and Nic Chapman and their YouTube channel, Pixiwoo. Over two million followers later, the pair are now frontrunners in the beauty biz, along with their successful line of makeup brushes developed with Real Techniques. We spoke to the UK-based siblings on their recent trip to Australia, crashing their hotel room and picking their beauty-brains on the ultimate must-have products and how they’ve stayed on top of the vlog game for so many years.
"Nic and I clash all the time.
We’re very different characters, but in a way I think that works quite well. [Nic] is very chatty and quite loud, and super funny, and I’m the opposite. So when she’s being really really loud, I go very quiet. It’s good because neither of us is competing for attention. We complement each other. I’m happy for her to be the centre of attention.
Our YouTube channel Pixiwoo was a completely accidental success.
There was a makeup artist community even then but it wasn’t YouTube, it was just forums. A girl on one of the forums asked me how I do a smoky eye so quick, and I thought I’m not going to email it, I’ll show her. So I filmed it. And then I couldn’t send it because the file was too big. I put it on YouTube (not realising other people would see it) and loads of other people watched. They started asking us questions and it just all happened from there.
Our beauty product obsessions change all the time
At the moment we’re loving the new Estee Edit stuff. We’re always obsessed with Hourglass, I love Charlotte Tilbury as well, every thing is amazing. Becca has a really nice makeup ethos that I’m attracted too, I love the fact that its all about looking natural and glowy - I’m really onboard with that. We use a lot of MAC as well, their stuff is great for makeup artists.
I don’t think there is any brand loyalty anymore.
People are way more savvy about products and brushes. I mean, you go back 10 years before YouTube, and if you were a Clinique girl, you bought everything from Clinique, or Estee Lauder or whatever your brand. But it isn’t like that now, everyone knows what’s good from each brand. Now, as soon as a trend comes out, every brand is so quick to jump on it we can barely keep up.
I always have at least three lip balms with me…
…Carmex, which is the best thing ever – you really can’t fault it. I think at the moment I’ve also got a Nivea one floating around and this amazing tangerine Australian one, it's from Priceline. I wear it just for the smell really, it’s so delicious, one of those lip balms you just want to eat.
The one product we both always use is the YSL Volume Effect Mascara.
We couldn’t live without it. My loyalty lies more with skincare; I always use Sunday Riley Artemis oil, I love it. I was told it was being discontinued, but I don’t think it’s true - I would buy a lifetime supply if that were the case. When I don’t use it, my skin is not as good - I notice such a visible difference. It takes about three to four weeks for it to really work, but after that time I always think, finally, my skin is back. It’s perfect.
We’re shocking travellers - sometimes I actually think I see my skin lifting off because it's so dehydrated, it’s unbelievable.
The products that we always pack for the plane are balms. At the moment I’m obsessed with the Clinique Moisture Surge Balm. I use Koh Gen Do Wipes which are fabulous to take all my makeup off, then I slather on the balm and keep reapplying the whole time. Otherwise it gets so dry! Big sunglasses sort things out at the other end, too.
The only brush I brought with me on this trip is our setting brush.
It’s synthetic, so it does everything I need. I can use it for my foundation and concealer, eye shadow- the works.
Story and Interview by Emily Algar. Images by Titus Pengelly.